Titles - Language and Linguistics

08/31/2018: Usage-Based Instruction: Teaching students to orally communicate in a foreign language [Hardback] by Serafima Gettys

Usage-Based Instruction: Teaching students to orally communicate in a foreign language [Hardback] This book is about Usage-Based Instruction, an innovative approach to teaching students to orally communicate in foreign languages. The approach was inspired by Usage-Based Model of language and language acquisition which differs radically from the traditional view of language underlying today’s dominant teaching paradigm. Usage-Based view of language is largely unknown to language educators: its main tenets are still tucked away in scholarly books and articles. The main goal of the book was to connect this refreshingly novel perspective on how language is learned with L2 pedagogy. The result is Usage-Based Instruction (UBI), a highly structured and carefully conceived sequence that has been successfully applied in teaching beginning students to speak in a foreign language. Students taught by the UBI demonstrate higher language gain, better pronunciation and grammatical accuracy, as well as more ease in expressing their ideas in the foreign language than those taught by more traditional, usually textbook-driven, methods. The first part of the book describes the main tenets of Usage-Based theory, such as intimate relation between language experience and the development of the linguistic system, the role of frequency, entrenchment, associative learning, constructions, and chunking, and discusses their relevance to L2 pedagogy. The main feature of the UBI which distinguishes it from more conventional approaches is that it uses constructions as units of learning. In the UBI course, constructions are learned through use: students begin to use linguistic units without necessarily being exposed to metalinguistic knowledge but rather through memory-based automatization in meaningful semi-communicative and communicative activities. Based on the premises discussed in the first part of the book, the second part of the book presents detailed step-by-step description of the UBI instructional sequence which includes Modeling, Focused Input, Forced-Choice Output, Scaffolded Practice, and Recycling, with each step considered in separate chapters, each containing a wealth of ready-to-use classroom activities.
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03/31/2018: The Playbook of Persuasive Reasoning [Hardback] by Gavin F. Hurley

The Playbook of Persuasive Reasoning [Hardback] The Playbook of Persuasive Reasoning: Everyday Empowerment and Likeability provides an inclusive and accessible guide to the strategies of persuasive reasoning, which I argue is the lynchpin to all effective communication, including professional communication. The “playbook” explains numerous eye opening communicative maneuvers that readers of all levels and professions can apply to their lives, empowering their messaging and increasing their social magnetism. The Playbook of Persuasive Reasoning uniquely resists the typical approach to argumentation and persuasion that is often technical (e.g. formal logic handbooks), complex (e.g. handbooks on legal argumentation principles), formally business centered (e.g. Harvard Business Review essays) or science oriented (e.g Cialdini’s Influence: Science and Practice). In sum, The Playbook of Persuasive Reasoning is a down-to-Earth guidebook about effective rhetorical strategizing. It is framed around everyday application, using everyday examples, and embedded in everyday language. Since effective communication is highly sought after trait by international employers, clients, and customers, The Playbook of Persuasive Reasoning is a useful book for professionals. Moreover, academics and students—as public intellectuals—can benefit from learning how to deliver more abstract material in an effective manner: verbally and written. Therefore, my goal is to help professionals and students become better and more likeable communicators. In doing so, the books will help them succeed professionally, socially, and cerebrally. Strategies of cooperative argumentation can facilitate this power—and guide individuals toward more empowered lives.
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03/15/2018: The Questioning Mind [Hardback] by Mara Cogni

The Questioning Mind [Hardback] The concept of this book is rather unique. It represents a philosophical approach to reading and analyzing texts in English. It encourages students to think critically and develop own reflections around relevant concepts (such as truth, inequality, duty, etc) in the course of their study of English language, literature and society. It embodies a more engaging style, than is traditionally common, in relating with the text: Instead of first reading long texts and answering questions about the text, it asks learners to relate their own experience and interpretation of the view communicated in the text, by actively and continuously engaging learners to test one opinion against another. The book is primarily designed to help students improve their reasoning skills both orally and in writing, and prepare them for tests and exams at the end of the upper secondary and university-preparatory courses. Some of the chapters in the book have been used in the classroom, resulting in highly engaged students who feel they are offered the opportunity to relate to the classroom experience in a meaningful way. None of the activities asks students to make lists of words or spend enormous amounts of time on close reading and interpreting texts – instead, they are required to reflect and share their own thoughts on the relevance of the texts, movies, etc. to their own lives. They learn new words and ideas by discussing the myriad of philosophical questions presented, which makes learning a conversation about life. Educators today are confronted with many challenges brought about by technology, both inside and outside the classroom. Sitting at a desk and laboring through numerous activities are no longer part of the typical classroom. Not only are students distracted by the overwhelming input of information, they are also helpless when discerning relevance from irrelevance. Besides, school learning has always been disconnected from the real world – it has very often been too theoretical, too abstract, too impersonal. Offering learning that bears relevance to the real world, connecting literature, historical events, and social issues to the learners’ own experiences, serves to engage students. Ultimately, everything we learn about the past bears a striking resemblance to what we try to discover about the present. All learning starts with the eternal philosophical questions: Who am I? Why am I here? Am I significant? What determines my existence? What do I believe in and why? In the end, life becomes manageable when we feel we are not alone. This book can help teachers make a difference and be remembered for making learning meaningful.
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09/10/2017: Wordscapes [Hardback] by Robert Tompkins

Wordscapes [Hardback] Wordscapes: Explorations in Language conveys readers on a comprehensive and entertaining linguistic gambol through the diverse components of our evolving language. Wordscapes prisms words to reveal their spectral facets, investigating such sundry elements as their curious origins, their semantic changes, and their baffling quirks. In addition, Wordscapes explores how we use words—from the like awesome realm of fadspeak and the pretentious embellishments of buzzwords, to the smoke-screen domain of bafflegab and the sugarcoated world of euphemism. This survey of our word panorama is presented in an unconventional, engaging, and visually appealing format; each page is a montage, enticing the eyes to land on islands of information—linguistic probes which serve to explain, juxtapose, complement, and reinforce. Every page serves a linguistic ragout of ingredients that will fascinate, amuse, and educate. Wordscapes investigates the biology of words. Whether used as tools or weapons, words are humankind’s most significant and most potent invention. We have given words a morality, a sociology, and a psychology. Words induce laughter, incite anger, instill hope, inflict pain, and inspire love. We use words to heal, motivate, manipulate, and deceive. They haunt and taunt; amuse and bemuse. Because of their power, words and the uses to which we put them, warrant the scrutiny they are given in Wordscapes. Not one of the books currently on the market encompasses the variety of content contained in Wordscapes. Other books focus on a specific aspect of words, a single ingredient in the linguistic salmagundi. There are books about euphemisms, slang, etymologies, or clichés; there are books that focus on eggcorns, snowclones, or mondegreens; there are books exploring eponyms, contronyms, retronyms, or bacronyms; and there are books about fadspeak, sportspeak, buzzspeak, or doublespeak. Wordscapes has all of these. And much more.
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06/30/2017: Elizabeth Craven: Writer, Feminist and European [Hardback] by Julia Gasper

Elizabeth Craven: Writer, Feminist and European [Hardback] Elizabeth Craven’s fascinating life was full of travel, love-affairs and scandals but this biography, the first to appear for a century, is the only one to focus on her as a writer and draw attention to the full range of her output, which raises her stature as an author considerably. Born into the upper class of Georgian England, she was pushed into marriage at sixteen to Lord Craven and became a celebrated society hostess and beauty, as well as mother to seven children. Though acutely conscious of her relative lack of education, as a woman, she ventured into writing poetry, stories and plays. Incompatibility and infidelities on both sides ended her marriage and she had to move to France where, living in seclusion, she wrote the little-known feminist work Letters to Her Son. In the years that followed, she travelled extensively all over Europe and turned her letters into a travelogue which is one of her best-known works. On her return she went to live in Germany as the companion and eventually second wife of the Margrave of Ansbach. At his court she organised and appeared in theatricals, and wrote several more plays of great interest, including The Modern Philosopher. In 1792 she and the Margrave settled in England, where they were never fully accepted by the more strait-laced pillars of society but mixed with all the musicians and actors and the more rakish of the Regency set. Craven continued to put on her own theatricals and write for the theatre. In her old age, she moved to Naples where she passed her time sailing, gardening and writing her Memoirs. Even in her final years, scandal dogged her, and Craven made her feminist principles and criticisms of the laws of marriage apparent through her involvement in the notorious divorce case of Queen Caroline.
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